By Brandon Sutton
It’s difficult to overcome sin, but for the addict, it can be nearly impossible to get sober. If you don’t know the struggles of addiction, you honestly just can’t understand. Even when an addict detoxes and has no traces of substances in their system as to make them physically dependent, the mind of an addict can lead them right back to his or her drug of choice. It’s called the obsession. The addict can’t stop thinking about using. They get tunnel vision. Everything else goes out of view and only the drug comes into focus.
Because of this struggle, many strategies are employed early on to help the addict stay sober. They go to meetings daily—sometimes two or three in a 24-hour period. They get a sponsor—someone they talk to and call at any time to get support. They might live in a recovery home where accountability and structure are built into their lives. For some, exercise is important. For others, they use candy and coffee to hang on. Basically, whatever works to keep an addict sober is fair game early on in recovery.
But, as helpful as these things can be, they are only crutches. They are support walls. They aren’t the foundation. The addict needs Christ. I say this from experience and from Scripture.
Biblically speaking, we know Christ is enough. Jesus is all we need. To the Corinthians, Paul said that Christ has become “to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1:30-31). Look at the incredible blessings we have in Christ.
Wisdom helps everyone navigate life more successfully, especially the addict. Christ is the embodiment of wisdom and the more we know Him, the wiser we become. Peter says, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” The knowledge and wisdom of Christ is the conduit through which we receive everything we need for living a life of godliness before the Lord.
Paul says Christ is our righteousness. We aren’t right before God because we turned our life around. We’re right before God because of the finished work of Christ. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2ndCorinthians 5:21).
In recovery, spiritual growth is key. Paul says Christ is our sanctification. Sanctification is the act and process of being purified from sin and made to be like Christ. We become what we behold, and when we set our eyes on Christ, we become like Him.
Above all, the struggling sinner needs redemption. We need to be freed from bondage to sin and death. Christ has done this through His death on the cross. By His sacrifice, Jesus purchased us for God. Therefore, we are not our own but belong wholly to the Lord.
Biblically speaking, Christ is more than sufficient. But we know this experientially, too. I can’t tell you how many people I have witnessed enter into the rooms of recovery, stay sober for season using the methods I described earlier, only to go back to their sin when those methods and crutches are removed. Recovery homes, meetings and sponsors are all good, and each one has their place in recovery, but they aren’t the source of recovery. Christ holds that title. The true test of someone’s sobriety is when you take away all of those supports. Can they stand? The person who has Jesus has everything he needs. Remove the supports, and he still thrives because his spiritual life isn’t dependent on man’s designs but on the grace of God in the person of Jesus Christ.